2nd SAAI Reunion & Lessons from Japan Webinar
SAAI to Elevate to Next Stage
On July 31, 2021, the 2nd SAAI Reunion & Lessons from Japan webinar was held. Co-hosted by the Sakura Alumni Association in Indonesia (SAAI) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), the event was moderated by SAAI coordinators Ms. Mutiara Aulya Firdausy and Ms. Alifia Zahratul Ilmi. Honorable guests gave encouraging messages. Keynote speakers and alumni spoke of their experience with the program, and newly selected SAAI coordinators were announced.
Keynote Sessions by Guest Speakers on Lessons from Japan
1st Keynote Session:
Dr. Yamada Mamoru
Specially Appointed Professor, Graduate School of Sciences and Technology for Innovation, Yamaguchi University
Including Sakura Science, Dr. Yamada has initiated numerous international researcher/student exchanges and collaborations through various platforms. He shared his research on tropical “thermotolerant” microbes, and how these heat-resistant microbes can be utilized in coming decades to create biofuels in more energy-efficient ways. The Research Center for Thermotolerant Microbial Resources at Yamaguchi University (RCTMR) is the only research center of its kind in the world.
2nd Keynote Session:
Dr. Ahmad Ridwan Tresna Nugraha
Researcher at Research Center for Physics, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI-Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia)
The second guest speaker, Dr. Nugraha who almost spent 1/3 of his life in Japan for his master’s/doctorate degrees and assistant professorship at Tohoku University, spoke of the benefits to studying theoretical and computational physics. With a background in materials physics research, Dr. Nugraha encouraged potential students to consider materials physics, which has a promising future in industry. He recommends visiting Quantum Design and Simulation Laboratory’s website to find out more about their activities.
Sharing Session from Alumni Who Studied in Japan
1st Session: Ms. Mazaya (Maya) Najmina
Ms. Najmina, a researcher at the Smart Polymers Group at the National Institute of Materials Science (NIMS) in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, enjoys living and working in Japan. She praised her supervisors for actively helping students maintain a good work/life balance, and providing opportunities for society-oriented research. Ms. Najmina is currently researching material-based breast cancer therapy.
2nd Session: Mr. Aji Resindra Widya
Mr. Widya, a program participant in 2015, just finished his Ph.D. defense on computer vision and deep learning at Tokyo Institute of Technology. He spoke of overcoming social challenges and enjoying life in Japan. His research experience largely entails managing deadlines and writing papers. While the pandemic has not interrupted his work, other obstacles remain: studying Japanese, proactively managing his motivation and mental health, plus keeping up with others’ research. Luckily, he’s found a community that holds regular paper-reading sessions.
3rd Session: Mr. Dieno Diba
Mr. Diba participated in the 2019 Sakura Science Program. Currently enrolled in a master’s course at the University of Tokyo’s Department of Earth & Planetary Science, he is also the lead representative of PPI Todai, the Indonesian Student Association at the university.
He felt that Indonesia could learn from Japan, as both countries suffered devastating tsunamis fairly recently. He praised his supervisors for arranging weekly discussions among students and professors. Mr. Diba’s conclusion is that to study in Japan, you need motivation and a good work/life balance.
Study in Japan Session by JASSO
Next, Ms. Rinjani Hanani Suyu from the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) Indonesia Office offered a data-rich presentation about applying to study in Japan. She recommends the free book Study in Japan: Basic Guide (available here) and their official website https://www.studyinjapan.go.jp/en/.
She promoted the upcoming free Study in Japan Virtual Fair 2021 in English. Around 100 institutions including universities/graduate schools, training colleges, and Japanese language schools will participate. For more information, visit
New SAAI Coordinators
After the Q&A, current SAAI President, Ms. Helen Kristin thanked the current coordinators that she’s worked with over the past 20 months, and introduced the new coordinators of SAAI:
- Mr. Kadek Hendra Darmawan (New President)
- Ms. Alisha Salsabila Indrawan (New Vice-President)
- Ms. Farhana Ibrahim Syuaib
- Ms. Karina Octavia
- Ms. Intan Puji Pratiwi
Since June,SAAI had called out to members in Indonesia for its first stage selection. Successful candidates moved on to interviews in the final selection. The new president, Mr. Kadek Hendra Darmawan, currently studying in the Netherlands, expressed his desire to promote and improve SAAI. The new vice-president, Ms. Alisha Salsabila Indrawan, currently working in a nonprofit focusing on conflict and crisis de-escalation, echoed these sentiments.
Last but not least, JST would like to extend heartfelt thanks to all honorable guests who spared precious time to show support to the program:
- His Excellency Mr. Kanasugi Kenji, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Indonesia,
- His Excellency Mr. Heri Akhmadi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia,
- Mr. Nadiem Makarim, Minister of Education, Culture, Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia,
- Mr. Mitani Hidehiro, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology, and
- Dr. Laksana Tri Handoko, Chairman of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN-Badan Riset dan Inovasi Nasional)
To know more about each presentation and Q&As, please view this webinar on the Sakura Science Club YouTube Channel.